Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Toasted / Bjorn Guido

Reviewed by: Pete Barber

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Biographical

Approximate word count: 45-50,000 words

Kindle US: YES UK: YES Nook: NO Smashwords: NO Paper: NO
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store


Chef Bjorn Guido is the owner & executive chef of the Millhouse Kitchen on Lourensford Estate. This story is an autobiographical snap shot of his journey as he tried to make a name for himself as a chef in New York.

In his early 20s, Chef Rocco (Bjorn Guido) made some ill-advised lifestyle decisions that saw him lose jobs and respect in the tight-knit New York restaurant business. The story covers a number of these highs and lows.
This was a mixed bag for me. To borrow one of Rocco’s management techniques, let me coin this in the form of a compliment sandwich: The story began with Rocco running an exclusive 5-star restaurant in New York. I enjoyed learning about the workings of a high-end kitchen—this was what drew me to the book--the roles and responsibilities of the various employees, how they worked together, and the passion Rocco obviously felt for his work.

The middle of the book moved away from food to detail his sexual and drug exploits. I’m sure it was wild and fun at the time, but that thrill didn’t come across on the page, perhaps because a drug high is only exciting while it lasts. I found myself skip-reading through the hour-by-hour, blow-by-blow details.

The latter part of the story covered Rocco’s attempts to clean up and put his career back on track. The pace picked up, and I was rooting for him and his partner as they struggled to launch a new restaurant on a shoe string.

Overall, a fun, fast read that gave me some insight into the life of an executive chef.

Format/Typo Issues:

Too few to mention.

Rating: **** Four stars

No comments: